15
May
14

Cahokia

Before any European set foot in the Americas, several cultures thrived throughout North and South America.  Many are familiar with the Inca and Aztec cultures, but few people realize a culture thrived in North America and had achieved the size of an empire in Europe.  The Mississippian culture located in the central and eastern portions of the United States, dominated the big rivers like the Mississippi, the Ohio, the Illinois and the Wisconsin to name a few.  This culture had at its center a very large city called Cahokia.  At its peak Cahokia had more than thirty thousand inhabitants.  What makes them unique in the American experience is the same thing that makes the Egyptians, the Incas, the Aztecs and other civilizations around the world unique.  They built pyramids.

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This sign greets visitors to Cahokia as they leave the parking lot and head to the Cahokia Interpretive Center.

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Here is an artist’s historically accurate rendition of what Cahokia looked like.

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The focal point of Cahokia is and was this large mound now called Monk’s mound.  It is called monk’s mound because of French trapper monks who inhabited it in the 1700s.  Cahokia thrived from about 700 AD until about 1300 AD when the site was abandoned.  Why it was abandoned remains an archeological mystery, so by the time the French inhabited this place it was empty.

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Many of Cahokia’s other mounds are visible from on top of Monk’s Mound, as well as St Louis, Missouri.
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